The Value of Meta-Metadata

Have you heard of the term “meta-metadata”? It sounds redundant isn’t it? Indeed, it is very seldom to encounter such a term where the first syllable is repeated. Now if the Greek word “meta” means about (its own category) and “metadata” literally means “data about data”, then what does meta-metadata mean? Meta-metadata simply means “metadata of metadata” or “about metadata”. Since metadata is still considered a data itself, there are no rules that will limit the creation of detailed description about metadata.

Consider a library system as a concrete example. Meta-metadata is used to capture the unique label of the metadata record in the catalogue, and such information includes the following: (a) the person who created the record; (b) the metadata scheme used; (c) and the primary language of the record. Meta-metadata is also being used in the field of photography. Applications such as Aperture and Lightroom have the capability of maintaining a database of images, and these include metadata of images. Meta-metadata then includes interesting facts that the user might need, such as number of images captured by the camera and what lens was used. It is also being used to learn some things about the photographer. By using state-of-the-art machine-generated software applications, one can determine what brands of cameras were used in a specific photo session among other things (e.g. lens, serial numbers, and zoom property).

These are just some of the many uses of meta-metadata. Given the right knowledge and tools to discover such information, it will definitely add more value to every single data or metadata presented.